Known as the state's biggest community college, Bellevue College will soon add to its four-year offerings with two new bachelors degrees: Nursing and Information Systems and Technology (known as IST).
The two new programs officially begin classes in the fall of 2013, according to a college press release. This will raise the total number of four-year degrees offered to five. The college's current degrees are Healthcare Technology and Management, which officially started this past fall quarter, Radiology and Imaging Sciences, and Interior Design.
“This is a win-win situation for both students and area employers,” said Leslie Heizer Newquist, director of applied baccalaureate programs at BC in a prepared statment. “Citizens of the Eastside and the Puget Sound region will get access to bachelor’s degrees with affordable tuition that can help them land jobs with good salaries. And employers, whether they are established hospitals or tech startups, will have ready-access to qualified workers so they can provide the best care possible or grow their companies.”
An increased number of hospitals and medical employers are requiring their nurse hires to have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, according to the college. The college already offers an accredited associate degree nursing program, which was one of the college's first programs, when the college was known as Bellevue Community College.
Bellevue College's current nursing program has had an articulation agreement with the University of Bothell campus, which allows licensed registered nurses who have an Associates or Diploma to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing from UW Bothell.
Bellevue College's new BSN program will offer instruction in healthcare IT, community and public health, and leadership and management functions.
Bellevue College's Information Systems and Technology bachelor degree would apply to students who aspire to such jobs as computer programmers, computer systems analysts and database administrators.
BC’s IST degree, the first of its kind in the state, will provide a broad base of theoretical and technical knowledge, and students will specialize in one of four concentrations: application development, business intelligence; systems administration; and information security, according to the college's press reelase.
Bellevue College has proposed two more bachelor’s degrees, in biological and environmental technology and in data analytics; if approved by the state, they could be offered as soon as 2014, according to the college's press release.
Though community colleges traditionally offer two-year associates degrees, Bellevue College has been adding to its selection of four-year degrees since 2007. The college changed its name from Bellevue Community College in 2009.
Currently, the bachelor options at Bellevue College are somewhat less expensive than bachelor programs at other local public four-year colleges. Bellevue College's current quarterly college tuition for bachelor program students would be $2,533.54 for a resident student, compared to the University of Washington Seattle's current quarterly college full-time tuition of $3,968 and the University of Washington Bothell's current quarterly college full-time tuition of $3,580 for resident students. (Those tuition rates do not include any other college fees or course fees.)
Bellevue College is planning a branch campus in the Issaquah Highlands, and in May took community input at a town hall meeting about what programs might be offered there, and continues to take input via an online survey. In 2010, Bellevue College purchased 20 acres in the Issaquah Highlands neighborhood, with plans to develop a satellite campus to serve residents in communities east of Bellevue. The site is located up the hill from the new Swedish Hospital Medical Center Issaquah Highlands location, on the east side of Highlands Drive near the Shops at Issaquah Highlands, the City of Issaquah soccer field at Central Park, and Grand Ridge Elementary.